May 9/Prepared Foods’ May 2011 “Market Watch” -- The National Coffee Association (NCA) has found young adults are increasingly turning to coffee. NCA’s 2011 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) data indicate coffee consumption among those 18-29 has rebounded to levels last seen in 2008-2009.


The NCA attributes the rise at least in part on increased confidence the 18-29-year-olds feel about their personal financial situations. As a result, however, the data also mean the continued strength of the coffee category has begun to eat into the narrow lead soft drinks has among that age group, and that bodes well for coffee in the future.

In 2011, 40% of 18-24-year-olds consumed coffee at least daily, well ahead of the 31% reported in 2010 and equaling 2009’s number. Among 25-39-year-olds, well more than half (54%) enjoy the beverage at least once a day, 10 points ahead of the 44% reporting the same in 2010. The NCDT report states, “These figures aligned with findings that 29% of those between the ages of 18 and 39 felt better about their financial situation than last year, while other age groups did not.”

Among the coffee segments performing well, gourmet coffee continues to account for a significant portion of the category, suggesting consumers will indulge in a relatively inexpensive but higher quality coffee, even in the midst of a troubled economy. Of those who consume coffee every day, 86% opted to drink it at home, while 24% of the total enjoyed the drink outside their homes.

Single-serve pod coffee systems are slowly penetrating the market, growing an average of 1% per year, per NCDT data, which also noted “35% of those with a pod system acquired it in the past six months.” Unsurprising considering those statistics, perception of single-cup pod systems is improving: while 26% believed the systems to be “excellent” or “very good” in 2007, 45% share one of those opinions in 2011. pf